For years I've wondered about the massive explosion of bank branches infesting our city. Perhaps I'm missing something, but it seemed like everyone had a pretty easy time finding a place to put their money already, so having it two blocks closer wouldn't seem like a pressing concern. The latest casualties of this odd phenomenon, according to the Chicago Journal, is Wicker Park's Filter coffee shop and Swank Frank. The two businesses will be shut down by uber-villan Bob Berger, owner of the Flat Iron Building, who has a well-known history of baffling decisions.
This really isn't a case of gentrification, as it's likely to be painted as. Let's face it, Wicker Park has been serving an upscale demographic for a long, long time. Urbis Orbis could rightfully play the gentrification card, but Filter is a different issue. At hand is what serves the good neighborhood, and at what point the benefit to the area and it's population should trump financial gain. Those two businesses have become centerpieces in the personality of the neighborhood and play a significant role in defining Wicker Park as an area people want to live in. In particular, Filter......in it's relatively short history has become somewhat of an institution. It will be sad to see it go.....a victim not of gentrification, but of poor civic planning and general myopia.